Validation of a neurofeedback paradigm: Manipulating frontal EEG alpha-activity and its impact on mood

Frenk Peeters*, Jacco Ronner, Lonneke Bodar, Jim van Os, Richel Lousberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It is claimed that neurofeedback (NF) is an effective treatment for a variety of psychiatric disorders. NF, within an operant conditioning framework, helps individuals to regulate cortical electroencephalographic (EEG) activity while receiving feedback from a visual or acoustic signal. For example, changing asymmetry between left and right frontal brain alpha activity by NF, is claimed to be an efficacious treatment for major depressive disorder. However, the specificity of this intervention in occasioning electrophysiological changes at target locations and target wave-frequencies, and its relation to changes in mood, has not been established. During a single session of NF, it was tested if the balance between left and right frontal alpha-activity could be changed, regardless of direction, in 40 healthy females. Furthermore, we investigated whether this intervention was electrophysiologically specific and if it was associated with changes in mood. Participants were able to decrease or increase frontal alpha-asymmetry during the intervention. However, no changes in mood were observed. Changes in EEG activity were specific in terms of location and wave-frequency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • EEG
  • Frontal alpha-activity
  • Neurofeedback
  • Emotion


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